I am excited that you decided to join me on my journey as I pursue a longtime passion of mine. For those of you who do not know me, let me introduce myself. My name is Terry Massey and I am running for Columbia County Sheriff in the November 2022 election.
I have over 25 years of combined business, law enforcement, and leadership/experience. I currently serve the citizens of St. Helens and have been endorsed by St. Helens Police Chief Brian Greenway, Police Commissioner Jessica Chilton, and the St. Helens Police Association.
My diverse background as a business owner will provide the opportunity for out-of-the-box, non-institutionalized, and strategic planning. This is including but not limited to budget, planning, scheduling, leadership, accountability, and transparency. My law enforcement background in the busiest city in the county will provide the platform to ensure that proactive policing occurs to prevent crime and not just respond to it. Our citizens deserve to live, work, and play in a safe county. I will accomplish this by reducing crime and bring solutions to issues in our county through holding myself and staff accountable in all ways and always.
After moving from Grants Pass when I was three years old, Scappoose quickly became my home and a community in which I am invested in. Shortly after graduating from Scappoose High School, I moved to St. Helens where I currently live with my beautiful wife and our two daughters.
My wife and I grew up together in Columbia County and are now raising a family in the same community that we grew up in. Between my family and my wife’s family, our family roots in Columbia County go back to 1928!
I first started my career as a business owner and have successfully led and overseen the day-to-day operations for over 20 years. Doing so has taught me how to effectively work with a variety of people each with the same goal in mind of making our business successful. Being a business owner has allowed me to grow as an individual by developing the essential skills needed to problem-solve and mitigate conflicts in a positive way. I am proud to say that I have taught myself along the way and what I didn’t know, I would teach myself. I believe my commitment and drive helped to effectively navigate our company through a recession and a global pandemic. I take pride in leading people to their fullest potential and I believe in treating everyone with the same respect as I hope to receive. People who feel valued and respected by their employer will work harder and have more passion for their work.
I absolutely love what Columbia County has to offer and I am proud to be raising my family here and calling it home. l love the outdoors and try to enjoy all the great activities our community offers. Our community is growing and expanding and I feel we need to embrace this growth, while still being able to ensure the safety and health of our citizens.
I started my law enforcement career with the St. Helens Police Department as a Reserve Office but quickly moved into a full-time position. I am genuinely passionate about this community and the positive impact that I can have on it. I believe that law enforcement is a stressful career, however, having the right people in these positions creates a safe and thriving community and one in which I am proud to serve.
Unfortunately, crime in Columbia County is on the rise and it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. I firmly believe that I am the best candidate to cultivate and foster a cohesive law enforcement presence in our community. With the right leadership and direction, I believe that we can bring our community together and foster positive changes.
As Columbia County Sheriff, I will be addressing the following issues to ensure Safety, Availability, Unity & Trust:
Crime is rising in Columbia County, and I will work tirelessly to ensure all residents feel safe. According to the St. Helens Police Department’s annual report for 2021, total dispatched incidents have increased. The Sheriff's Office has not published their 2021 annual report yet. However, based on the website data they have responded to 8,875 calls for service, that is 46 calls a day for service YTD, an increased number since 2020. Reducing crime will be accomplished by partnering with existing agencies to share information on a regular basis and combat the criminal element in our county. Current practices within the CCSO fail to address these fundamentals of crime fighting. I will look for new opportunities to utilize Hot Spot policing and other effective techniques to dissuade crime. Advancement in technology allows law enforcement agencies to use existing crime data to not only target criminals who prey on our citizens but prevent future crime from occurring by deploying our deputies into areas that they are most needed. My goal is to partner with our community to find solutions and not just respond to the same problems time and time again.
• Mental health Many of our neighbors struggle with mental illness. We must do better. I look forward to working with Columbia Community Mental Health (CCMH), Community Action Team, and other resources to put programs in place to assist citizens in need. My priority is to ensure proper training for officers on de-escalation techniques in situations involving citizens with mental illnesses.
• I will also seek to revitalize the in-person volunteer-based Life Lessons program for Columbia County inmates that will provide real-life skills to help inmates become productive members of society.
• Coverage is a concern. There is no 24-hour police presence in the County. I have a plan; this will be my priority. This objective has not yet been accomplished in the last 3.5 years; we citizens have no reason to believe it will come in the next four (4) without change. Columbia County has been seeing a significant spike of growth over the past few years, yet there have been no added safety measures or increased patrol to accommodate the rapid growth. It is essential to have a proactive Sheriff, especially as we continue to grow. My family lives here, too; we all deserve a safe place to live.
• We need a Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) team. It is essential to have a local CIRT team to respond to situations that typical LEO’s are not specially trained to deal with, such as active shooter or hostage situations. Having a team of trained individuals who know how to handle situations significantly increases the safety of everyone involved. The County is growing exponentially in population, and growing pains accompany that. Crime is rising, and it is essential to be properly prepared to protect our citizens. This team has been disbanded and no longer exists. I can bring the relationships needed between agencies that currently do not exist in order to reinstate it. With our county being comprised of several smaller police agencies, as sheriff it is my responsibility to bring all agencies together to form a cohesive until that will allow for a coordinated response in our county if an event of this magnitude occurs. Currently our county is NOT prepared and fails to conduct any training for an active shooter response. I am committed to prioritizing the safety of our schools, businesses, and residents first and foremost.
• Investigations are important. Have you ever wondered why Washington County investigates many of our Major Crimes? Currently, we do not have a Major Crimes unit. The Major Crimes unit should include specialized individuals within the different agencies. Currently there are only two individuals that are assigned to investigate major crimes, and they are split between narcotics and assigned to follow-up on incidents. Our citizens deserve better. The implementation of the Major Crimes Division within the county would provide specialized investigations for incidents including but not limited to homicides, robbery, sex crimes, missing persons, bias-motivated crimes, and fraud. If something were to happen to a friend or loved one, I would want the most talented team to investigate. We all deserve that. However, without inter-agency collaboration, that is unlikely to occur. I will also promote transparency. How many incidents are published now, and no follow-up is seen? In the past several years, our county has experienced several violent crime incidents that are alarming to us all. Our residents have received no communications on any of these situations leaving us all with more questions than answers, which can leave us feeling unsafe.
• House Bill 3115 has been passed and goes into effect July of 2023. Homelessness is going to become a huge issue here in Columbia County if we do not have a leader who embraces proactive policing. It is imperative moving forward. Collaborative planning and utilization of resources will be essential to have in place or our beautiful county will start looking like Portland. We can’t allow that to happen. When elected, I will be responsible for bringing all our county and community partners to the table to come up with viable solutions that will address the growing homeless issue. As sheriff it is my duty to keep our community safe and the current plan of ignoring it won’t solve the problem. Utilization of resources are essential to work with the homeless population and not against them, this will not solve any issues.
There is a disconnect between local law enforcement agencies that need to be rebuilt to provide the best service to the residents of Columbia County. Unless there is a change in the office of the Sheriff, this is unlikely to occur. From day one, my current relationships and the relationships that I will continue to grow will bring instant value to the County.
Trust with between law enforcement and society has diminished over the years, and I believe it is vital to rebuild this trust within the community to create a stronger environment. I will Implement bi-monthly town hall meetings in each city to build and collect cohesive information and create a stronger relationship with the citizens. Town halls will be a transparent platform that will include statistics, crime, mental health, programs, specialists, and upcoming items that affect citizens.
Change in action starts with VOTING Terry Massey as your next Columbia County Sheriff.
I appreciate you taking the time to get to know me and my intentions a little better. Change in life is inevitable as we see change around us each day. Change can be scary, but change can also be good. I want your family and my family to grow up in a safe environment; one where we can feel safe in the community that we choose to raise our families.
If elected as your new Columbia County Sheriff in 2022, I will dedicate myself to this community, its citizens, and the safety of all those who call this great community home.